“Bullish” Nasdaq executive hopes WeWork will eventually go public

on Oct 24, 2019
  • Nasdaq Vice-Chair Edward Knight is confident that WeWork will eventually get listed
  • This follows an ongoing bailout by SoftBank that will see WeWork's operations taken over by the Japanese bank
  • The space-renter will be run by one of SoftBank's executives after the former CEO, Adam Neumann exited the company.

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A top official of Nasdaq on Tuesday threw his weight behind WeWork saying he hopes the shared workspace giant will “ultimately” get listed even as talks are in advanced stages for Japan’s SoftBank to take over the operations of the embattled company.

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In what turned out to be one of the fiercest conversations during the Fintech Abu Dhabi conference, Vice-Chair of Nasdaq Edward Knight stated that he was “bullish” on WeWork’s stocks in the long run.

“We hope eventually it will list on Nasdaq,” Knight said.

WeWork’s listing woes began when it proposed its plan to go public in September this year. The company had been making a series of losses splashing skepticism all over the IPO market.

However, reports of SoftBank taking over WeWork came to the limelight on Monday with the former agreeing to a valuation of between $7.5 billion and $8.5 billion on a prefunding basis. Earlier this year, WeWork registered a private valuation of $47 billion.

If finalized, the deal between WeWork and SoftBank will see the workspace unicorn surrender about 70% control of the company to the Japanese conglomerate bank. The day-to-day running of the company will be taken over by an executive from SoftBank as the former CEO’s stake in the firm drops to a low double-digit. Adam Neumann who recently stepped aside as CEO has been blamed alongside several others for the firm’s current woes.

Even before the ongoing takeover, SoftBank had already injected an approximate $10.65 billion investment in the space-sharing firm. A source told CNBC that a chunk of the funding will go towards debt financing involving warrants that were due for expiry.

Last week CNBC’s report highlighted how WeWork was on its way to bankruptcy, at least by mid-November. In the bailout, Neumann will receive approximately $1.7 billion as compensation for walking away from the company, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Throughout the Tuesday conference, Knight was confident that there was a “great story in WeWork.” In fact, he maintained that Neumann had actually been successful in attracting capital and “disrupting the whole real estate market in the United States with his idea,” CNBC reported.

“I think that idea will eventually have a place in the public markets and the retail public will be able to invest in it, and hopefully it will be on Nasdaq,” he said.

Prior to the bailout, the company had sent home a third of its workforce in its costs cutting measures. Staff who spoke to The Guardian expressed fears that the layoffs were far from over, putting at risk more than 15,000 jobs.

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